SECONDS FROM DISASTER

By Dan Steber, Naval Safety Center Public Affairs, 4/18/2006
Forwarded by YNCS Don Harribine, USN (Ret.)

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — The Naval Safety Center and other Navy commands are helping National Geographic with a series called Seconds from Disaster, which shares major historical events that had tragic results.

The current Navy story deals with the 1967 fire aboard USS Forrestal (CVA 59). The special will show what happened, how Sailors valiantly fought to save the ship, and what lessons were learned that led to modern safety features.

“This is a chance to show the good that came from a tragic event,” said Cmdr. Bob Standley, head mishap investigator at the Naval Safety Center and a key player in the National Geographic special. “My role was to walk the viewer through the mishap, through the eyes of a modern-day mishap investigator. It was interesting to review an old mishap and to share what the Navy learned from that experience.”

The show will include recreations of various events from that day. Rather than use local actors, Sailors from USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and the Farrier Firefighting School will appear in the show.

Capt. Dave Lepard, an ordnance expert at NOSSA Indian Head, Md., also helped with the production. “As an ordnanceman, I’m very aware of the USS Forrestal fire,” he said. “It was a watershed event. I read about the incident, researched it, and learned about the mishap that changed the way we do business at sea. I wanted to make sure we did a job that was right for the Navy and for those who lost their lives that fateful day in July.”

“My biggest thanks for all the hard work you all did getting us in to all the places and to meet all the people we needed to see,” said Margaret Beckett, the show’s producer. “Everyone, but everyone we encountered in the U.S. Navy was enthusiastic, helpful and I think many went out of their way to help us. I hope you will enjoy the end product!”

The show is tentatively titled “USS Forrestal Fire - July 29, 1967.” Current plans are for the show to air during the late summer.

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